Drywood termites are different from other common termite species because they are able to live in dry, un-decayed wood without any requirement for contact with the soil. Ground treatments are not needed in the case of drywood termites. Rather, drywood termite treatment options include fumigation and spot or wood treatments.  

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Signs of Drywood Termite Infestation

Damage

Drywood termite swarms attack wooden objects, structures, and furniture of all kinds. They are often carried into new geographical areas by way of infested furniture. Since drywood termite colonies are significantly smaller than subterranean termite colonies, often the damage they accomplish is also localized and not as widespread, though great damage is certainly possible if colonies are left unchecked. An entire colony (about a thousand termites) makes their nest in one piece of furniture or piece of wooden home structure. Drywood termites leave only a thin layer of wood between them and the outside, so sometimes infested furniture and wood can be noticed from the outside.

 

Before performing a drywood termite treatment in any one area, you should inspect the entire structure and any furniture inside for signs of a drywood termite infestation as drywood termite damage can take on any of the following forms:

  • Galleries or tunnels inside infested wood
  • Extensive integrity damage to the wood braces around your home 
  • Piles of fecal pellets outside wood galleries (termite droppings): Since they live inside their food, drywood termites will create holes to kick out their feces. The termite droppings are round and smooth and pebbly and will pile up next to the nest. If you see a pile of termite poop, sweep it up and see another pile a few days later, you most likely have an active drywood termite colony. If you suspect a termite colony, tap the wood to see if the feces pellets will drop out. 
  • Shed wings or other parts of the insect
  • Don’t confuse saw dust material from other wood-infesting insects such as carpenter ants or carpenter bees; these insects do not eat the wood but live in it, so there will be piles of wood shavings or dust near entry holes.

Picture of Drywood Termite Droppings

termite droppings

How To Get Rid of Drywood Termites

Getting rid of dry wood termites is different than getting rid of subterranean termites. The most common and effective drywood termite treatment options are localized wood or spot treatments and fumigation in severe circumstances. 

  

1. Localized or Spot Wood Treatments. 

One of the most effective drywood termite treatments by far (when the infestation is limited) is to treat the affected wood or wood galleries directly. 

  • Spot Treatments of infested wood may be accomplished by drilling half-inch wide holes right into the infested termite galleries and injecting the appropriate liquid inside. Spot treatments with products containing permethrin and bifenthrin or several other chemicals are effective at killing termites inside their colonies. They come in sprays and foams and are widely available.  Timbor and Bora-Care are both effective liquids for drywood termites treatment.  Dusts may also be injected but take caution only to do so in small amounts, as too much dust will stimulate the termites to damn off the gallery and move someplace else.
  • Localized Wood Treatments: Bora-Care can also be applied directly to the surface of infested wood. The Bora-Care will penetrate the wood and termites will die.  Bora Care also leaves a residual behind, protecting against future infestation for the life of the wood.  If the wood to be treated is sealed or stained, as with wooden furniture, you will first need to sand and remove the finish so the treatment will be absorbed. However, once you have treated the wood, you can then reapply the stain, paint, or sealant on top of the Bora Care.

2. Fumigation. 

A fumigation is when an entire structure is tented with a special cover and flooded with a poisonous gas that kills the termites. This method is expensive, complex, messy, and can only be done by a professional pest control operator. Any objects of concern and all food must be double bagged and all people must vacate the property for several days. There have been some reports of negative health effects after humans reenter a fumigated building. Needless to say, fumigation should always be the very last resort and is not recommended for limited infestations.

See also: Termite Killer

 

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